18 Slices
Medium 9780253016140

7 The Honorable Ambassador

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

NAMED FOR THE COUNT OF PEÑALVA, EL CONDE STREET IN Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is a cobblestone pedestrian road that stretches from the Parque Colón to the Parque Independencia. On the morning of March 8, 1962, young demonstrators, angry that two alleged enemies of the people had been allowed refuge on American soil, ranged up and down this popular shopping district, smashing windows, wrecking storefronts, and looting merchandise. Spying a car belonging to the new U.S. ambassador, whose driver had gone to a Spanish tailor’s shop to pick up a white linen suit for the diplomat to wear when he officially presented his credentials the following day at the National Palace, the mob pulled the driver from his seat, then smashed and burned the automobile. They went on to torch two other vehicles belonging to the U.S. government and attacked the school the ambassador’s two sons attended. The boys watched from their upstairs classroom window as the demonstrators, brandishing chains and manhole covers, tore down the American flag and wrecked the school’s first floor before finally being driven away by two truckloads of Dominican soldiers armed with machine guns. Realizing the danger, adults at the school quickly hustled the boys away from the scene, and they escaped unscathed.1

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016140

3 Two Cents a Word

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

AT THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF RUSH STREET AND GRAND Avenue in Chicago, the 217-room Milner Hotel, part of the coast-to-coast empire of 130 units in twenty-six states owned by company founder Earle Milner, offered the tired traveling businessman and tourist basic lodging at a reasonable price – “A Room and a Bath for a Dollar-and-a-Half,” boasted the chain’s motto. It was at the Milner that John Bartlow Martin resided when he returned to Chicago from Indianapolis in the fall of 1938. In addition to the Milner’s inexpensive rates (five dollars a week on a monthly basis), its management paid the cab fare from the railroad station for guests and also provided them free laundry service. “It suited me fine,” said Martin. “I had nothing but one suitcase and a portable typewriter. I had a room with a bed and through the dirty window a view of the fire escape.”1

After escaping from his depressing Indianapolis childhood, Martin was thrilled to be in a vibrant and colorful city and delighted in its “freewheeling, go-getting” spirit. While a high school student, he had wandered with a friend though Indianapolis’s scanty slums, disappointed they were so small, while in Chicago “there were acres and acres of them, all mine.” Martin even enjoyed the noisy traffic on Outer Drive and Western Avenue, the sound of the elevated trains as they “roared by overhead on the wondrous El, reared against the sky,” and the bright lights of Randolph Street’s theater district. “There was nothing like this in Indiana,” he said. As he had while a young student at DePauw University, Martin, suddenly single, behaved foolishly for a time, sleeping most of the day, writing at night, and drinking beer while he worked. He soon discovered, however, that he could not keep up such a lifestyle and make a living, and he fell into a regular routine he followed for years to come, writing from nine in the morning to five in the evening and avoiding alcohol during those hours.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016140

2 A Mean Street in a Mean City

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, AS THEY STRODE ALONG THE sidewalks on the Circle, the center of Indianapolis’s original Mile Square plat, people craned their necks to peer over a high wooden fence plastered with posters advertising theater offerings, hoping to catch a glimpse of a structure destined to dominate the city’s skyline for years to come. On May 15, 1902, the city’s citizens, along with visitors from all over the state and nation, crammed downtown streets for the formal dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Built of gray oolitic limestone from Owen County, Indiana, at a cost of approximately $600,000 and standing 284 feet tall, the edifice honored “Indiana’s Silent Victors,” the average Hoosier soldiers who had given their lives in the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. “They are my best beloved,” intoned Civil War veteran Lew Wallace, presiding officer for the dedication ceremonies, “who, in every instance of danger to the nation, discover a glorious chance to serve their fellow-men and dare the chance, though in so doing they suffer and sometimes die.”1

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016140

10 As Time Goes By

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

AS A GRADUATE STUDENT AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITYS Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, Jim Borg took an independent writing class in the fall of 1975 that required him to research and write an article that might be suitable for publication in such national periodicals as Esquire or The New Yorker. A few months earlier, Chicago newspapers had been full of reports about the death of Steven Stawnychy, a recruit at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center who had been abused by his instructors. On the evening of June 3, 1975, Stawnychy had committed suicide by letting himself be struck by a Chicago and North Western train. “He walked over and laid his head down on the tracks,” said the engineer of the train that hit Stawnychy. “When I realized what he was up to, I just went into ‘emergency’ and tried to stop – but, of course, it was too short a distance.” For his article, Borg wanted to “put all the pieces together into a comprehensive story that also looked at Stawnychy’s background” in an attempt to unravel why the recruit had taken his own life.1

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016140

9 The Return of the Native

Ray E. Boomhower Indiana University Press ePub

IN THE 1960S THE MAROTT HOTEL, LOCATED ON THE NEAR north side of Indianapolis at 2625 North Meridian Street, had faded from its original glory days of the 1920s and 1930s, when it had hosted key political and social events for the community and welcomed such famous guests as Winston Churchill, Clark Gable, and Herbert Hoover. On the evening of April 4, 1968, however, the hotel hummed once again with activity as staffers for U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy strolled up and down its hallways. They were staying there after the end of a long first day in Kennedy’s quest to win Indiana’s Democratic presidential primary. Kennedy’s senate speechwriters Adam Walinsky and Jeff Greenfield, along with a new member of the team, John Bartlow Martin, were busy discussing the details of a foreign policy speech their candidate was slated to deliver later at Louisiana State University when they were interrupted by a secretary, who told them that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot in Memphis, Tennessee. Later, while at dinner, they heard that King had died.1

See All Chapters

See All Slices